Apple is no stranger to the court, and mostly it’s there because of alleged patent infringements. This time, though, the case is different, as the case is much bigger than what Apple has faced this year. Ericsson, a Swedish company dealing in telecom, has sued Apple for the infringement of over 41 patents that the company claims rightfully belong to Ericsson, reports claim.
According to the document filed by Ericsson, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has used over 41 patents which Ericsson has legal right to for the development of 2G and LTE technology, which the company uses in its iPhone and iPad devices.
The patents under question deal with some of the most essential components of the 2G and LTE technology, which means if Apple loses out its claim over the patents it has used for the development of said technology, it would be the end of the iPhone and iPad devices that the world adores. A few patents under question also deal with the design of certain hardware and software that Apple has used for the development of some components of its products.
The case has been filed both in the International Trade Commission (ITC) and also in in the District Court of Texas in the United States.
Considering the trend that most patent infringement lawsuits follow, this lawsuit is quite different for Apple Inc. Usually, the company is attacked by competitors for patents that the prosecutor claims it stole entirely, without ever licensing it or even attempting to get a license for it. A recent case highlights this very trend, when Apple was sued by Smartflash once again for infringement of patents the latter claimed Apple Inc. had stolen for the development of certain aspects of the iTunes software.
This time, Apple Inc. is being sued not for having stolen patents, but due to certain procedural violations with licensing. According to reports, Apple Inc. had singed a global licensing agreement with Ericsson, which expired a month back. A subsequent request for renewal of the license was made by Ericsson to Apple, which, according to reports, was rejected by the company. Reports further illustrate that Ericsson attempted to resolve the issue in US Federal Courts as well, an attempt which was blatantly denied by Apple Inc., which claimed the terms listed in the renewed agreement were unreasonable. This, according to an Ericsson spokesperson, led to this drastic action.
Ericsson follows what are known as FRAND terms, which make it an obligation on the company to list only fair and non-discriminatory terms in its patent licensing agreements that it offers to companies all over the world. Ericsson is the owner of more than 35,000 patents at the moment, making it the largest patent owner in the wireless industry.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has yet to comment regarding the case matter. However, considering the confidence of Ericsson in this lawsuit, it seems likely Apple Inc. is at fault here, and may have to pay heavily to maintain its right over the essential patents it requires to run 2G and LTE technology on its most selling devices.